Italian Author Accuses State Broadcaster Rai of Censorship Over Cancelled Antifascist Monologue

Italian author Antonio Scurati accuses state broadcaster Rai of censoring his antifascist monologue, sparking outcry over media freedom under Italy's right-wing government.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Italian Author Accuses State Broadcaster Rai of Censorship Over Cancelled Antifascist Monologue

Italian Author Accuses State Broadcaster Rai of Censorship Over Cancelled Antifascist Monologue

Italian author Antonio Scurati accused state broadcaster Rai of censorship after his planned antifascist monologue criticizing Italy's "post-fascist" leaders was abruptly cancelled from airing on a Rai 3 talkshow. The cancellation sparked outcry from journalists, authors, and opposition leaders, who accused Rai of becoming a "government mouthpiece" and of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's hard-right administration exerting excessive control over the country's media.

Scurati, who was scheduled to read the monologue on the show Chesarà, received a note from Rai stating it was cancelled "for editorial reasons". The monologue referenced Mussolini's fascist regime and criticized Italy's current "post-fascist" leaders. Rai initially denied censorship, claiming an "economic and contractual" investigation was underway, but Scurati said his 1,800-euro fee was agreed upon beforehand.

The incident occurred just five days before Italy's national day of liberation from fascism on April 25th. In the monologue, Scurati directly criticized Prime Minister Meloni for failing to denounce fascism in its entirety. Meloni responded by publishing the monologue on her Facebook page and accusing the left of "shouting at the regime".

Why this matters: The controversy highlights growing concerns about media freedom and independence under Italy's right-wing government. The censorship accusation by a prominent author against the state broadcaster has further fueled the debate over the Meloni administration's influence on public institutions and its stance on the country's fascist past.

Rai journalists have announced a five-day strike in protest against the controversy. The CEO of Rai, Roberto Sergio, acknowledged the incident and said "drastic measures will be taken" after an investigation. The Italian Publishers Association expressed solidarity with Scurati, stating that freedom of expression is a "mandatory guiding principle" for the publishing industry.

Scurati, who felt "targeted" and "afraid" after the incident, described the protests and personal attacks against him as a "fierce, ruthless political-ideological controversy" and a form of violence. "When the boss points the finger at the enemy and the newspapers put you on the front pages, they put a target on your face," Scurati warned, expressing his discomfort in the role of a victim and fear that Prime Minister Meloni's supporters could target him.

Key Takeaways

  • Italian author Scurati accused Rai of censoring his antifascist monologue criticizing Italy's leaders.
  • Rai initially denied censorship, but Scurati said his fee was agreed upon beforehand.
  • The controversy highlights concerns about media freedom under Italy's right-wing government.
  • Rai journalists announced a strike, and the Publishers Association expressed solidarity with Scurati.
  • Scurati felt "targeted" and feared Prime Minister Meloni's supporters could target him.